I think adoption can be a wonderful process in which a family is legally made. As most of us who have families are aware it take more than a piece of paper to make a family a family, and under the best of circumstances, raising children can be and in most instances is a challenge.
I hope that those of you who are thinking about adopting an older child are keeping in mind the child you are adopting has a history. Some of the older children that are in the Department of Social Services custody or in an orphanage in a foreign country have been abused and neglected; this abuse and neglect leads to psychological issues that may be very trying on your already existing family.
The question is not whether older children should be adopted or not; the question is are you and your family ready to adopt an older child.
The Department of Social Services provides 14 hours of training and evaluation to help you determine which type of child is best suited for your family; this services is offered for those parents that are seeking to adopt through the Department of Social Services. More information can be found at this link concerning the adoption of children in the Department of Social Services custody.
I make sure my clients know that once they have adopted the child, the child is theirs. I do this at the initial interview and on the record at the final hearing. You cannot give the child back without adverse legal consequences; you cannot just put the child on a plane and expect life to return to "normal."
Before you adopt a child, please make sure you and your family are ready and willing to take on the challenges that come with having a new family member. This is especially true with older children; their customs, traditions, and worldview may be very different from yours; unneeded conflict may arise if you have not prepared yourself to weather any potential storm.
Adoption is a wonderful opportunity to create a family through law; let’s keep it that way.